‘Island Earth’ documentary explores GMO contamination in Hawai’i

Island Earth captures the stunning beauty of Hawaii (Cyrus Sutton/Island Earth Website)

Cyrus Sutton created the documentary ‘Island Earth ‘ to expose the threats that conventional farming inflicts upon natural land – specifically in Hawai’i.

The Hawai’ian people were pioneers of agriculture. The film stated that when the islands were colonized, 90% of Hawaiian aboriginals were killed. One of the stories that ‘Island Earth’ portrays is that of the aboriginals currently living on Hawai’i who are suffering the effects of chemical exposure. At least 27 schools in Hawai’i have been located less than a mile from chemical farms.

Filmmaker Cyrus Sutton speaks at a showing of ‘Island Earth’ (Katy Penny/BCIT News)

Cyrus recently showed his film to a room of Vancouverites at the Kitsilano Patagonia. When he spoke after the film, answering questions, he said it is the responsibility of everyone to use their voice.

“I think the way to effect change is not actually silence. I think silence is a sign of weakness.” – Cyrus Sutton

While the film told stories of locals affected by pesticide use, it also heard from scientists and scholars. Tyrone Hayes is an American biologist and professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley. His research concerns the chemical altrazine. He stated that the US uses 80 million pounds of altrazine per year. He says that any chemical targeted towards an organism has the power to affect all organisms.

“If you put a chemical in water to kill fish, why would it be okay to drink the water?” – Tyrone Hayes

Tyrone advocates heavily against pesticide use. He’s known best for his research that altrazine is an endocrine disruptor which emasculates and feminizes male frogs. ‘Island Earth’ states that 90% of the world’s seeds are owned by 6 companies.

“It’s not about feeding the world. It’s about making a handful of people richer.”  – Tyrone Hayes

A sustainable solution – many Hawai’ian farmers grow their own food (Cyrus Sutton/Island Earth website)

At the film’s Vancouver debut, a ‘manual’ was handed out to attendees. This booklet concerns the ways for us to effect change. Ashley Lukens, Director of the Hawaii Centre for Food Safety, advocates two strategies to plan for the future of food. The first is to create an alternative – growing your own food, interacting with your environment, etc. The second factor is that land and nature are considered property by law, which means anyone who owns property has the right to destroy it. The other strategy is to ‘turn the titanic’ – give nature back its rights.

See more pictures from Island Earth here.

This is an original news story by Katy Penny.